Rep. Thomas R. Caltagirone
127th Legislative District
Berks County

Judiciary Committee holds public hearing on heroin epidemic

HARRISBURG, Nov. 21 – House Judiciary Committee Democratic Chairman Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, said the committee held a public hearing to focus on reversing the heroin trend that continues to increase in Pennsylvania.

The hearing was held at the Harrisburg High School and was the third in a series of statewide hearings on the issue.

"We traveled to the western and southeastern corners of the state, and now we’re tackling the middle," Caltagirone said. "As a committee, we have received invaluable feedback from across the state and now it's time to take that information and turn it into legislation."

Caltagirone said testifiers included Attorney General Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, Pennsylvania Office of Drug and Alcohol Secretary Gary Tennis, area district attorneys and other stakeholders.

"Heroin misuse and abuse have reached the level of an epidemic," Caltagirone said. "The scales start tipping when an individual is taken off prescription drugs that he or she has become addicted to and then turns to heroin to feed that addiction.

"It's a slippery slope and we've got to look at curbing the availability and accessibility of this very dangerous drug."

According to the state police, they seized over 30 kilograms of heroin in 2012, which is a 54 percent increase from 2011 and a 175 percent increase from 2010.

"The numbers are startling," Caltagirone said. "I look forward to continuing the work the state police and other state and local agencies have already started on this issue and further commit to working with my colleagues to reversing the trend through legislation."

Thomas Caltagirone

127th Legislative District
Berks County
(610) 376-1529